Rating The Riders, 2015, Part 1: Jorge Lorenzo And Valentino Rossi

As the year winds to a conclusion, now is a good time to look back at the 2016 MotoGP season, and assess how the riders have done this year. It has been a fantastic season for MotoGP. The fans have been treated to some of the best and closest racing in years. Several races became instant classics, such as the tight battle at Assen decided in the final chicane, the bizarre rain-hit and incident-packed race at Misano, the scintillating four-way fight at Phillip Island.

The championship went all the way down to the final race, decided in the end by just five points. There was controversy and scandal, with the clash between Valentino Rossi and Marc Márquez at Sepang following Rossi's accusations of collusion between Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo at Phillip Island. There were last minute appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in an attempt to get the penalty imposed at Sepang lifted.

New bikes, new factories and the resurgence of Ducati thrilled fans as well. Gigi Dall'Igna's ability to get a racing department to work smarter, not harder, paid off for Ducati with the Desmosedici GP15, perhaps the most competitive motorcycle Ducati have built since the GP7, or even the GP6. Suzuki brought the GSX-RR, a brilliant bike with bags of potential but lacking a seamless gearbox and a stableful of ponies. The M1 was the best bike which Yamaha have ever brought to MotoGP, while Honda's RC213V was probably their worst since 2007. Even Aprilia turned up and took it seriously, though 2015 was more of a data-gathering year than an attempt to challenge. We will be talking about this season for a very long time to come.

So how did each rider do? We review the performance of each rider below, giving them a mark out of ten for their ability to live up to or exceed expectations. As every year, we cover the riders in the order they finished in the championship.

Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha, 1st, 330 points
Score: 9.5

All year long, everyone – engineers, journalists, pundits, other riders (with the possible exception of Valentino Rossi, for obvious reasons) – said the same thing over and over again: "Jorge is faster, but Valentino is more consistent." The statistics bear that out: Jorge Lorenzo led for 274 of the 448 laps raced this year, a fraction over 61%. He also had five poles and six fastest race laps, second only to Marc Márquez. Jorge Lorenzo was just plain fast in 2015.

This should be no surprise. After a difficult 2014, Jorge Lorenzo took this season deadly seriously. Last year taught Lorenzo that the cost of not being fit at the start of the season was defeat, and he has no taste for that. In contrast to 2014, Lorenzo turned up to the first Sepang test in outstanding shape, slimmer than he has ever been, and fitter than he has ever been. Yamaha had monitored his progress very carefully, following his training program closely and even sending team boss Wilco Zeelenberg down to Andorra to go skiing with the Spaniard, and check on his condition. When the 2015 season started, Lorenzo was ready.

Unfortunately, his equipment was not. A helmet liner malfunction in the first race at Qatar meant he raced with his vision partially obscured, finishing fourth after leading for most of the race. It was a sign of things to come, with bronchitis hampering him at Austin, then the wrong tire choice at Argentina seeing him finish well down the order. After the first three races, Lorenzo trailed his teammate Valentino Rossi by 29 points.

At the next round, Lorenzo's luck appeared to change. The Spaniard embarked on a string of four imperious victories, starting at Jerez and finishing at Barcelona. Going into Assen, he had cut the deficit to just a single point. From Assen, the tides turned again, both Rossi and Lorenzo tossed on the wild seas of fortune. Luck, or perhaps more accurately, events, continued to dog Lorenzo: another helmet malfunction at Silverstone, this time because he had not put his breath deflector in and his visor was misting up in the rain. A crash at Misano in the bizarre dry-wet-dry race, when he came out and pushed too early on slicks, seeing Scott Redding fly past him.

But as the season wound to a close, Lorenzo started to come into his own. Another masterful win at Aragon, two strong second places at Phillip Island and Sepang, including a pass on both factory Ducatis which was as close to picture perfect as imaginable, and Lorenzo was within seven points of Rossi, and his third title. Rossi starting from the back of the grid made his task a lot easier, but Lorenzo got the job done, putting so much pressure on the chasing Hondas that he made it incredibly hard to pass. Jorge Lorenzo was a deserving champion in 2015.

This was far from a perfect season, however. Lorenzo got an awful lot of things right in 2015, but there were also some entirely unnecessary mistakes. His decision to stick with helmet manufacturer HJC, despite a number of problems in the past, seems ill-advised. If the lining of his helmet had not cost him victory, or at least a very good shot at it, in Qatar, the 2015 season may have gone very differently. At Misano, Lorenzo spent too much time worrying about Valentino Rossi, rather than riding his own race. And though Lorenzo was pretty much unbeatable on the standard Bridgestone tires with the edge treatment, at the high-speed tracks where low temperatures meant he could not get the non-treated tires to work, he suffered badly.

With new electronics and new tires in 2016, Lorenzo faces a lot of new challenges in defending his MotoGP title. So far, he has not yet managed to secure back-to-back championships. Three MotoGP titles puts him in a very select club, but winning two in a row would cement his place in the GP pantheon.

Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha, 2nd, 325 points
Score: 9.5

British MotoGP commentator Julian Ryder has one cliché he uses about Valentino Rossi all the time. "Never write Valentino Rossi off." It may be a cliché, but in 2015, Rossi showed once again why clichés exist. At the age of 36, he was past his physical prime, and not capable of keeping up at the front. Twenty seasons of top level racing had dulled his desire to compete. Two seasons at Ducati and a poor return to Yamaha proved he was past his prime. With more money than he will ever need for the rest of his life and a fashion model girlfriend (who rides motorcycles), there was nothing to fire his motivation. The VR46 racing team was proof Rossi was looking to his retirement, not another championship.

There was at least some truth in all of those statements, voiced by pundits and fans across the world. But they overlooked one crucial fact: you can never, ever, write Valentino Rossi off.

Yes, he was 36, but he is training harder than ever, spending more time at his dirt track ranch built behind his home in Tavullia, and riding a Yamaha R1 around Misano as well. He paid close attention to the results of the VR46 team, but he did not involve himself directly, concentrating on his own season. The money and the model girlfriend were wonderful, but they could not quench the fire of ambition which still burns inside his chest. Valentino Rossi is still, at his very core, a racer. His greatest joy is still going faster than anyone else on a motorcycle. 2015 showed that he was still very capable of doing precisely that.

The problem was that his teammate was just that fraction faster. When things went Lorenzo's way, there was nothing Rossi could do to stop him. What he could do, however, was make sure he finished as close as possible behind Lorenzo, and capitalize when things didn't go Lorenzo's way. Those tactics saw him lead the championship almost to the end, only briefly surrendering the lead on a technicality after Brno, when he and Lorenzo were equal on points.

The way Rossi managed his season proved his critics wrong. He was still competitive, still capable of winning races, and winning a championship. Valentino Rossi was in the process of cementing his claim to be the greatest motorcycle racer of all time.

Until the flyaways, that is. Rossi rode brilliantly at Motegi, extending his lead over Lorenzo and coming second to Dani Pedrosa in exceptionally difficult conditions. But it took a lot out of him: Rossi got off his bike looking more tired and drained than I have ever seen him, and I have watched almost every race of his career. The constant pressure of holding Lorenzo at bay was starting to take its toll. The constant implication that Lorenzo was faster than he was, parroted by the media and the rest of the MotoGP grid, was grating on his nerves. Being beaten by not just Lorenzo, but also by Marc Márquez and Andrea Iannone was the final straw.

At Sepang, Rossi cracked. He cracked first by attacking Marc Márquez in the press conference, accusing him of trying to help Lorenzo to win the championship. He gambled that this would force Márquez to alter his behavior, and race fairly, as Rossi saw it. It was a surprisingly foolish gamble. As one paddock insider who has worked with both Rossi and Márquez said to me, "this was inevitable, the two biggest egos in the paddock were always going to clash some time." Márquez' response was the exact opposite of what Rossi had hoped. Either because Rossi's accusations had struck a nerve, or because Márquez was entirely innocent of what Rossi accused him of.

The two tangled in the Sepang race. Rossi passed Márquez, Márquez passed Rossi, until eventually, Rossi blew his cool. He slowed through Turn 13, sitting up and pushing Márquez wide. He had stopped racing, and was trying to teach Márquez a lesson. The two came together, Márquez fell, and Rossi was handed a penalty, which saw him forced to start from the back of the grid at Valencia. With a seven-point lead over Lorenzo, Rossi suddenly needed help to be champion. He needed help from the two Repsol Hondas, both of whom had to beat Lorenzo to stop him from getting enough points to take the title.

Márquez followed Lorenzo, clearly at the limit, but not passing when he had the opportunity. He was waiting until the last couple of laps, Márquez said, as he had at Indianapolis. A reasonable tactic, given that there was only one place on the track where Márquez was faster, Lorenzo's Yamaha was faster out of the final corner, meaning that Márquez' only chance was on the final lap. But Dani Pedrosa arrived, slowed Márquez up, and stopped him from attacking. Again, Rossi saw nothing but conspiracy, a "biscotto", Italian for an ice cream sandwich, a slang term for when two teams work together against a third. Rossi once again attacked Márquez, denigrating Lorenzo's title in the process. It was an embarrassment to MotoGP and the sport, he said. Harsh words indeed.

For the first sixteen races of 2015, Valentino Rossi behaved like the mighty champion he is. He fought like a lion when he could, and like a fox when he had to, using every trick he had picked up over his twenty years in the Grand Prix paddock to his advantage. He showed himself to be a more than deserving champion.

In the last two races of 2015, Rossi crumbled. Whether his accusations have any truth to them or not – Occam's razor says we should take the facts at face value, not succumb to wild conspiracy theories – it was the way he acted on his suspicions that lost him the 2015 title. If he had not attacked Márquez in the Sepang press conference, the clash at Sepang may never have happened. If he hadn't responded so fiercely to Márquez' passes at Sepang – Márquez may have passed Rossi nine times in two laps, but Rossi passed Márquez back the same number of times – he would not have got drawn into losing his cool and forcing Márquez to crash. He would have started closer to the front of the grid at Valencia, and had a fighting chance of finishing close enough to Lorenzo to take the title.

Sepang and Valencia are a black mark against Rossi's 2015 season, but they should not overshadow his incredible achievements of this year. To lose the championship by five points may be bitterly disappointing, but to even be in that position at his age, after so many years at the top, is a mark of just how great a rider Rossi is. He will be back again in 2016. And you can never, ever, write Valentino Rossi off.


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Total votes: 77
Total votes: 126

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Comments

What was Lorenzo's wrong tyre choice in Argentina? He chose the same tyre as the race winner on the same bike did he not?

Total votes: 133

I believe Lorenzo and his crew had spent most of the weekend leading up into the race trying to make the medium tyre work. Neglecting to spend time finding a setting for the hard. This was their mistake

Total votes: 108

Very fair assessment. Helps take some of the bitterness away I felt after watching the last two races. Cmon 2016!

Total votes: 128

Thank you David!
As always, a fair and unbiased assessment of both factory Yamaha riders and their season!
Now if only Julian Ryder would admit to writing Rossi off on his return from Ducati instead of claiming the reverse I'd be happy!

Roll on testing!

Total votes: 128

99 Jorge Lorenzo

5th / +10.192 / 25 laps

“Honestly, I am very disappointed. I didn't expect to finish in fifth position. I expected to fight at least for the podium. I was was not able to ride as good as Valentino with the hard rear tyre, maybe we needed a softer one to feel better. I didn‘t feel good and I wasn‘t able to ride as I wanted. Anyway, we keep getting points and let‘s see in Jerez if we can be faster. Valentino‘s race was unbelievable, he was able to go faster than anyone else with the harder tyre, he is in an unbelievable shape.”

The above in answer to Lorenzo's tire choice. I used this sites SEARCH engine for the answer.

Total votes: 113

David Emmett's evaluation of both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi cannot be faulted. Kudos to you Sir for that. However, as a small point of interest (which does not in anyway challenge what you have said), I have heard a doctor actually say that a homo sapiens male actually reaches his prime at around 42 years age. I was a bit shocked and asked don't people struggle to keep up physical fitness in the thirties unlike how they do in their 20s and his answer was that once can see a decline in terms of running (sprinting only) and cycling (sudden bursts of speed) but with age the mind body coordination is progressive till the age of 42 and therefore those have been habitually exercising and have a strict fitness regimen actually get better with age. He is a sports medicine specialist and believes that as long as the training programmes are kept up, people can easily do as well as youngsters and teenagers. He believes that what slows people down people is usually a psychological factor which tempers aggression and pushes people into not taking a risk that one would have taken as a teenager or someone in the early 20s where there is still no dawn of mortality (his words). I found that interesting.

Another very unrelated thing that I would like to say is that I have recently read Rossi's autobiography (What if I hadn't tried it), Casey Stoner's autobiography (Pushing the limits) and Jorge Lorenzo's biography (My story so far) and what I have learned is that there is nothing much to separate the riders from each other. All of them have enormous egos, but Rossi is cheeky and unashamed in proclaiming his greatness while Lorenzo's biography seemed like it was written in pursuit of the Man Booker prize. The most interesting was Stoner's autobiography where I found him using characters from his life to sat great things about him and he put them in quotes. But the one bit that left a bitter after taste was where he not only claimed that he was enjoying Rossi's suffering at Ducati and that Rossi's greatness was accidental because he did not have to face any great opposition in the lower classes and so built his reputation which was undeserved since he did not ride with people like himself (Stoner), Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa in the lower classes. I thought this was not only an insult to the other riders in the lower classes and 500 cc class. Capirossi, Harada, Okada and Biaggi were not great riders? His criticism of Jeremy Burgess was even more venomous. He seems to have forgotten that this man had a role to play in the World championships that Mick Doohan (whom he claims to be his hero) won. Stoner comes across a bitterman seeing a lot of conspiracies including some from Michelin. My intention here is not to start a debate about Rossi vs Stoner vs Lorenzo.

I am just sharing what I read (others may have read these books way before I did and I am sure David did and knows more about some of the things said in the autobiographies) and the perceptions that I got from them since I read them one after another. I humbly request not to make it a contest of who is better who is worse etc. Like I said all of them have huge egos (I think they can have them considering their achievements). I am not taking sides. Please do not make it a fight; I will be mortified. Thank you all in advance.

Total votes: 150

At the end of the racing day all I want to see is great racing,I do not give a rats arse which racer thinks they are the greatest,that argument will go on forever,I spend the racing season spectating both on TV and at many tracks to see close and spectacular racing and I personally don't care who wins on the day

Total votes: 105

Thanks for your comments, I have not read any of their books, so I enjoyed reading your insights. I can relate to the bitter taste regarding Stoner's part, recently I have seen "Hitting the apex" where one of the few things Stoner said was similar... that he enjoyed watching VR46 struggle on the Duc (no exact quote seen I don't recall the exact wording).
I support multiple riders in each of the different championships, so not only VR, and somewhere I can understand that CS27 would feel vindicated seeing VR46 struggle... but I don't think it's Champion worthy.
When CS27 raced I was no fan of him (as a person & racer), but always had tremendous amounts of respect for his riding/racing.

Total votes: 113

I think Stoner enjoying VR's struggle at Ducati is an absolute comprehensible reaction given the bad press he had in the late Ducati days. So while certainly most of the fans here at motomatters don't enjoy reading those bad words of a multiple World Champion, because they might leave a bad bad after taste, his feelings are comprehensible and the way he expresses them is logical. There is a word for when someone expresses his real feelings/thoughts etc: authenticity.

So while I am sure Stoner is pretty authentic in his behaviour, I am as sure that JL is the complete opposite of that, because of so many things he does that don't go together with what he says or sayed earlier. And I don't know for sure about VR's authenticity. My guess is that he is pretty authentic. At least what he says matches what he does most of the times I think. So I think that either he is pretty authentic or he is a master (in a negative way) in keeping his words and his behaviour "in line" for the media. With MM I will have to wait longer. This guy is very difficult "to read" for me.

Total votes: 116

If any further proof were needed that Casey's problems with the press are down in no small part to his habit of saying what he is thinking without first thinking about what he is saying, there he his adding fuel to the fire.

I think it's probably quite normal for him to feel some sense of satisfaction that VR stuggled on the Ducati, a bike he (Casey) was always devastatingly quick on; but to say that in print is another thing entirely (unless your name is Carl Fogarty and you are deliberately trying to wind up Aaron Slight).

That he is still so adept at putting his foot in his mouth is probably another strong indicator that he will never return to MotoGP in a (full time) racing capacity.

Total votes: 107

After Rossi and Burgess going on about Stoner and the Ducati (not trying hard, etc.) I feel that Stoner's comments on enjoying seeing Rossi suffer were entirely appropriate and human. Not to mention that the rider regarded by many as the best of all time and able to ride anything couldn't do diddly on a bike that Stoner just recently had multiple victories on. Given the same situation I don't think anyone here would have different feelings and Stoner was honest enough to say it. Most people complain about the bland corporate-speak that riders use to avoid any controversy and here is a rider speaking how he genuinely feels and yet still gets static. There's no winning over the media for some riders, especially when it is Rossi getting the dirty end of the stick.

Chris

Total votes: 135

Bitterness is not an attractive trait for anyone, let alone a public figure. Yet in Stoner's case I think I understand where it comes from. For years he had to put up with Rossi's fans insinuating that the only reason he was able to win was because had a bike advantage, despite the same bike ruining the careers of many who rode it. It was always electronics, or top speed, or Bridgestone tyres - never Stoner's talent. When he got sick, he was called a sore loser and a pussy. Stacey Moaner became a common catch cry amongst Rossi fans, and Rossi himself was happy to fan the flames. Eventually it became obvious even to the most one eyed GP followers that Stoner was a pretty special talent, but it took a longer than it should have because he was on the wrong side of a publicity war he could never win. Rossi also made inflammatory comments such as the famous "not riding it hard enough" quote. This is not to say Stoner's behaviour was always exemplary either, he was'nt emotionally equipped to shrug off criticism whether justified or not. But when Rossi finally got to sample what he himself had to contend with for all those years I think it was natural that there was some schadenfreude. Whether it was wise to say so in his biography is questionable but Stoner has always seemed to value honesty above wisdom.

Total votes: 119

Thank you for your comment and I was once a big Rossi fan but over the years I have learnt that there are many others who are worthy of respect. Before that I was a Wayne Rainey fan but never would I say anything against his rival Kevin Schwantz and the most amazingly talented Mick Doohan. Like you I am no fan of Stoner's but the more I saw his riding, the more the genius of it became apparent. I too have great respect for him as a rider and it is really my fond hope that he comes back to racing with Ducati, though that seems unlikely given the things he had to say about Claudio Dominicali in his autobiography. Stoner in the mix will probably make MotoGP unmissable.

Total votes: 88

I was fortunate to be at Mugello in 2010 and was sitting in with the Ducatista at Correntario (never again) when Nicky lost the front end and ended up in the gravel in front of the Ducati stand.The locals cheered thinking it was Casey,but to their horror they then realised it was Nicky and were devastated,says a lot of what the ducati fans thought of Casey.He is still the only rider to ever master the Desmosedeci,something the rest of the paddock could never achieve, and for that he should be held in esteem.

Total votes: 114

I'm still mystified when I hear of Stoner being the only man to tame the D16. The bike was competitive from its first race where Capirossi podiumed and went on to win at Catalunya in its debut season. Capirossi went on to lead the championship in 2006 before that horror crash with Gibernau at Catalunya cruelled several riders' seasons. The fact that Bayliss could step in from the WSB "wilderness", put it second on the grid and go on to win the final race points to a pretty fine bike. Not taking anything away from Stoner's brlliance just pointing out that there wasn't much wrong with bike at the time he inherited it.....it was only later that some radical engineering "solutions" took it off on a tangent no-one else could follow.

But back to 2015 and something that irks me: all this talk of Lorenzo's helmet "malfunction". What exactly caused the problem? Every helmet I've had or seen where lining has come adrift has been a result of operator error, where a pad has come unclipped or such like. Was the helmet actually defective? Or did Lorenzo just ignore basic checks? The fact he then went on to have that later tantrum over a misting visor when he failed to wear a breath guard points to some basic failures on his part rather than just 'bad luck".

I've never owned an HJC but I can't help thinking they are getting the rough end pf the pineapple.

Total votes: 94

Since Ducati refer to the GP bike as the D16 for all its years, yes, a few people did win a few races on it pre-2007. Capirossi had good results on the 990 version of the D16 but once it went to the 800cc version with the rule change in 2007 Stoner was the only person to win in the dry with it and that is the version of the bike that people are referring to. In 2007 Capirossi won at Motegi in a flag to flag race and had another podium or two, but that's it. It destroyed Melandri. Nicky managed to get OK results at best after a few years of wrangling it. Rossi barely did any better. The same for Dovi and Cal. So Stoner was the only one to ride the post-2006 D16 with any effectiveness. Yes, he crashed a lot but was usually running at the front when it happened. Other riders crashed a lot on it too but they were usually midfield.

Chris

Total votes: 100

To disagree with a lot of your summary here Krop, you, as many have taken sides here which is of course your right. However I believe one cannot sum the end of the season up with Rossi 'crumbling' without entertaining his claims on Marquez at Sepang as having merit- particularly when viewing what was bizarre antics from Marquez at PI. The thing is that no one knows, and from the outside the last three races all looked very odd indeed so stating that opinion as fact is a mistake or just a bias point of view.

Also of note and omitted from your summary was Lorenzo's dependence on the medium heat treated tyres which when weren't the option of choice, Jorge usually didn't win or even podium. Such was the narrow range of success and cumulative factors which determined the result. Particularly with the added Marquez incidents at the end of the season, leaves one pondering that 5 point deficit.

The fans and observers alike have spoken and the majority have a very sour taste in their mouths over 2015, hopefully 2016 may bring some balance, however as we can see here and in many circles there is a line drawn and two sides which could not be more opposed.

Total votes: 143

>>However I believe one cannot sum the end of the season up with Rossi 'crumbling' without entertaining his claims on Marquez at Sepang as having merit- particularly when viewing what was bizarre antics from Marquez at PI.

There were no bizarre antics at PI. Bradley Smith, a current racer with direct experience on the BS tires confirmed that letting a slightly overheated tire cool down regains its effectiveness. Nobody, announcers, past racers, pundits, etc, had anything but praise for the top 4's performance at PI. It was a race for the ages. In fact, AI was initially the one getting static for beating Rossi. It was only after Rossi's accusations against Marquez at Sepang that Rossi fans (and them only) bought into the idea that Marquez, after crashing out of 5 races that season due to his own mistakes and an aggressive Honda engine, had suddenly regained his 2014 form enough to play with them all and win at will. While helping Lorenzo by beating him. Huh?

>>Also of note and omitted from your summary was Lorenzo's dependence on the medium heat treated tyres which when weren't the option of choice, Jorge usually didn't win or even podium.

Right there at the end of Lorenzo's section is: 'And though Lorenzo was pretty much unbeatable on the standard Bridgestone tires with the edge treatment, at the high-speed tracks where low temperatures meant he could not get the non-treated tires to work, he suffered badly.'

Seems like you may need to reread the article and revise your critique.

>> however as we can see here and in many circles there is a line drawn and two sides which could not be more opposed.

When Kevin Schwantz, as big a Rossi fan as anybody, feels that Marquez was not favoring anybody, that goes a long way to saying it was all in Rossi's head. That it is only some Rossi fans that keep playing it out takes it the rest of the way there.

http://www.motorsport.com/motogp/news/schwantz-rossi-was-in-trouble-even...

Chris

Total votes: 118

So both Rossi and Iannone, who were the only riders in a position to judge, said that Marquez was playing games, and you're taking Bradley Smiths word, who hasn't even come close to winning a Motogp race? Your opinion and right to do so I guess, but don't claim my opinion is wrong when you are using very similar and arguably far weaker comments as proof.

Johan Zarco also stated he thought Marquez was playing games at PI, and at the time of the race. I'm saying there is good evidence to suggest there was strange antics at all three of the final rounds, happy for you to provide the proof that Marquez's tyre overheated at PI to support your view and explain why at this round only did the repsol Honda team immediately cover his tyres in Parc Fermme?

And yes it is a fact that Lorenzo could only get that treated Medium compound to work, I think it's a relevant fact to add in such a tight title battle, just my opinion.

I would like to see the breakdown of the tires used across all rounds.

Total votes: 122

Both Rossi and Iannone are friends and are speculating on what another rider, a rival, is doing. Their opinion on what Marquez was doing is speculation, not fact. Rossi obviously has a biased opinion in that situation. Iannone is his friend (at least until he starts beating Rossi) so is not exactly unbiased and is still trying to speculate what another rider is thinking. Bradley Smith is confirming a fact, that an overheated Bridgestone tire can be brought back to usefulness by allowing it to cool off by slowing down. In interview after interview he has proven to have a very good insight to a lot of the technical details of a GP racing, regardless of his win count. Johan Zarco has never raced a MotoGP bike nor their Bridgestone tires so his opinion on race strategies and tire condition, as fast a Moto2 racer as he is, does not have much relevant experience behind it. Now we don't have actual tire temps to confirm overheating, but the behavior (fast then slow then fast laps) fits the description. Rossi saying Marquez was trying to help Lorenzo does not stand up to the fact that at the finish line Marquez beat Lorenzo. So how is it a reasonable explanation? It is not. Did Marquez run a bit of an erratic race? Yes. Has he been erratic all year? Yes. Remember 5 unforced DNFs? There was passing going on among the top group all race long. If Rossi had the pace to win or beat Lorenzo he would have. He didn't. End of story. He was even beaten by Iannone, who was apparently not part of the conspiracy.

>> I'm saying there is good evidence to suggest there was strange antics at all three of the final rounds, happy for you to provide the proof that Marquez's tyre overheated at PI to support your view

At PI Marquez was visibly missing apexes all race long, as mega-rossi fan Kevin Schwantz pointed out. All season long he has been overheating the front when struggling to make up on the brakes what he lost due to wheelspin. On the last lap Lorenzo slowed by nearly .4 sec, half the gap to Marquez, and had his second slowest lap of the race (by .002 sec). Marquez sees the gap closing, steps it up by .4, and its a conspiracy. Any time Rossi closes a gap late in the race it is heroic riding. The double standard is ridiculous. Being outright outpaced by 3 other riders, especially at a rider's track like PI, was a hard pill for Rossi to swallow.

At Sepang Marquez was racing Rossi as hard as he could. As anyone would do after getting dragged through the press by Rossi. Yes all the passes were hard but fair and in no danger of knocking Rossi off. And as Schwantz says, yes Marquez passed Rossi a lot, but Rossi also passed him back so two were playing at the same game. Only Rossi went overboard with his move. And after Marquez went down did Rossi turn fast laps and catch the leaders? No. In fact his fastest race lap was when he was fighting with Marquez so maybe he was actually getting a tow! As it was all season long, Rossi just didn't have the pace to close on the riders in front when they were in their zone. Being outright outpaced, especially at a track where he had so much success, was a hard pill for Rossi to swallow.

At Valencia Lorenzo ran the perfect race. He didn't leave one door open on a tight and twisty track that is hard to pass. When Pedrosa came past Marquez he ran wide and Marquez stuffed it back up the inside. No surprise there. Before the race Marquez said if he saw a gap he would try a pass but if there was no gap he would not lunge. There was no gap so no lunge. Why is that a surprise? And even if Rossi had started at pole his lap times indicate he would have finished fourth. Losing the title at Valencia after coming in with a points lead, for the second time, was a hard pill for Rossi to swallow.

>>and explain why at this round only did the repsol Honda team immediately cover his tyres in Parc Fermme?

All season long various teams have been covering tires in parc fermme. What you are saying, since there is no rider to pit communications, is that the pit crew was involved in the Lorenzo-Marquez 'alliance' and knew to cover the tires as soon as Marquez pulled in. That's funny.

>>And yes it is a fact that Lorenzo could only get that treated Medium compound to work, I think it's a relevant fact to add in such a tight title battle, just my opinion.

Yes, David mentioned it very clearly in a sentence you apparently didn't read.

>>I would like to see the breakdown of the tires used across all rounds.

Why? To build more straw men? That info is freely available for you to find more conspiracies in.

Chris

Total votes: 123

This is the endless debate that will probably rage on well into the time when the books are being written on this era of racing, when the youngsters are reading about the riders of old, and the tales...or I suppose in this modern age, watching the races online hah.

I see it as just a big mix up of all sorts of different "things". Rossi and Iannone were in the best place to see what was going on, they were racing MM, real hard. MM could very well have had tyre issues, but to the other two at that time, all they would see is a rider who tails them close, then passes, then slows down, then tails close again, passes, slows down. And then right at the end of the race, he scorches away on an incredible lap and takes the win.
Their view of that would have been one of being toyed with, and once someone has their initial opinion of something formed, it is very hard to change it.

Just look at us, the legions of commenters that all had things click in our heads when these incidents happened. See us all debating what went on, and noticing how little concessions are actually made, how staunchly we "defend" our viewpoints and "our" riders. If we were to back down or totally rethink our views, that could be seen by some as a bit of a hit to our seemingly "logical" thought.
Imagine what that would do to a racer though, I'm sure they can't doubt their thoughts, they have to carry that confidence to succeed. How often have we heard that so much of racing is in the head, if you don't have confidence in the bike, your skills, tyres, etc, you won't succeed.
It would take a very tough racer to admit that he was totally wrong and that the rival of his is correct and right.

So I see it as VR and AI having made what could be called a wrong assumption, but from where they were, it made perfect sense to them considering the BS tyres are seemingly very well regarded concerning the front tyre and longevity.

Where VR went off in his judgements were the calls that MM was helping JL. I think that is just based on his title fight with JL, which would be his main concern in those last races, and missing the way that MM just wants to win like they all do.
Like has been mentioned elsewhere, if there was any foul play type stuff going on from MM, it would be solely to deny VR the title, possibly because of previous run ins, not in any way to help someone else. MM wants the wins and wants the glory. Maybe seeing a bit of weakness from VR, he then did lean towards the thoughts of "helping" JL, as that really got VR fired up. Finding that mental weakness and exploiting it.

From Sepang to Valencia is where I see it all went a bit smelly, from both sides. Never have I seen a race or a battle won on the third lap, and I've found it rare to find riders that would knowingly screw their race with over 3/4 distance to go, knowing that anything can happen in racing.

I see some saying that VR didn't have to overtake MM back, but the thing that can be hard to see from our seats is how someone can just ever so slightly alter their pace corner to corner, something not easily seen in sector times. You, in a ways, force the guy behind to pass, if he is wanting to keep up his race pace speed. May not be the case here, as most things we debate can't actually be proven in any sort of way, but it's always something I keep in mind.

MM having a crazily strong fight with VR, and then VR finally hitting boiling point.
The following race, VR having a storming run through the field, and MM having an uncharacteristically quiet round at the pub.
You only need go back a year or two and see how much passing can actually happen at Valencia. Actually, you just need to go a bit back in the field and see some of the satellite riders in the race, see how they were going about it.
Pedrosa did not ruin MM and his chance. He had sat for pretty much the whole race on JL's tail. Just see how quickly MM snaps back at DP and then gets back to JL's tail. They both in a ways fell into each others "traps" with VR being bested by MM's mind games, and MM essentially proving VR's thoughts on his riding, especially after JL's comments at the end of the Valencia round.
If MM didn't want to attempt any block passes or tough manouvers being it's the final round racing with a contender for the title, that to my eyes renforces VR's words to some extent. A race earlier he was happy to scrap for third while seemingly struggling with his bike, and in the last race for him to make up another race win after a poor year, he doesn't try it after tailing for the race. His actual intent that we will never know doesn't matter too much, because on the outside, it looks off to me.
Like I said, they both fell into each others traps, in a roundabout way.

As much as I want to see this all disappear and just have a bunch of riders just straight racing to their race wins and championships, this wont disappear next season. As soon as anything happens between them, I'm sure this will flare up, fueled by the media of course. I could be wrong of course, but I only see it ending when one of them involved leaves the championship. We've seen it before with the big egos colliding. It usually doesn't resolve itself while they are still in the title hunts, side by side in the heat of the races.

Total votes: 103

Is a double edged sword, David.

The trouble with your summation of Valencia and Pedrosa supposedly ruining Marquez' plans is that Marquez has a pitboard and he knew that Pedrosa was Catching them hand over fist. There can be no claims of Pedrosa "suprising" them with the rapidly diminishing numbers telling the story in black and white lap, after lap.

Any racer going for the win would have known they had to make a move. Yet the most aggressive rider in modern times did not, and chose to fight to hold station in second instead.

So yes, Occam's Razor is a funny ol' thing.....

Total votes: 125